Frontier Energy boosts Waroona battery duration

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West Australian (WA) renewables company Frontier Energy has selected its battery technology for the first stage of the Waroona Renewable Energy Project, boosting discharge duration by 12% to 4.5 hours, up from four hours in an initial definitive feasibility study (DFS).

The company said the increased storage capacity will enable additional storage of electricity during times of low pricing, and dispatch during times of peak pricing.

Frontier Chief Executive Officer Adam Kiley said the company is in the fortunate position that the cost of the two largest capital items, solar panels, and the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, have fallen significantly since the release of its DFS in February, which estimated a cost of $118.5 million (USD 78.96 million).

“Battery prices have fallen due to a combination of factors, including falling raw materials prices, improvement in supply chain, and reportedly weaker than anticipated demand, resulting in an ample supply of batteries in the current market,” he said.

“This unique situation is to Frontier’s advantage, with improved battery capacity resulting in increased duration, approximately 4.5 hours compared to four hours in the DFS, increasing Waroona’s revenue while at the same time achieving a lower capital cost.”

The Warrona Renewable Energy Project, 120 km south of Perth, Western Australia will potentially be Australia’s largest clean energy project, once complete.

Image: Frontier Energy

The battery at Waroona will use a DC coupled system deemed the lowest capex and most efficient way of integrating battery storage into new renewable energy installations.

In a DC coupled system, the battery is connected directly to the DC side of the renewable energy source, the solar panels. DC coupling eliminates the need for an additional inverter to convert DC to AC since the battery system operates directly with the DC electricity generated by the renewable source.

The battery system operates directly with the DC electricity generated by the renewable source.

Image: Frontier Energy

The Waroona project, which has approvals in place for 241 MW of solar, is being developed adjacent to Frontier’s Energy’s Bristol Springs project which has development approvals for 355 MW of solar generation.

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